Sea elephants aren't the quietest of creatures at the best of times, but at the end of January the big bull males are just coming ashore, while the females struggle to wean their pups. It's a dangerous time to be a pup, as the males don't pay any attention to the struggling young seals, often just days old. If dominance need to be asserted, well, nothing gets in their way. Sadly that can mean the end of a short life, crushed under the hefty bulk of a bull sea elephant.
It's no wonder that the turkey vultures are on patrol, cruising up and down the dunes, skimming to spot any young seals that will never make it to sea.
Piedras Blancas, California